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Unemployment rates remain steady

Unemployment rates remained steady in Pulaski County in June, but continued to climb statewide and in several surrounding counties, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
VEC Chief Economist Bill Mezger attributed the continued climb in jobless rates during June to high school and college students trying to enter the workforce for the summer, and to the ailing automobile industry. He said automobile production has reached a near standstill so area parts suppliers are continuing to lay off workers.
Closings at Chrysler and General Motors dealer franchises also are a factor in the increasing rates, Mezger added.
As for the student workforce, Mezger said, “This is probably the worst summer job market since (the) 1982” recession.
Statewide, unemployment rose from 7 percent in May to 7.3 percent in June. That means the number of unemployed increased by more than 15,000 between May and June, from 292,900 to 308,100. In June 2008, the 4 percent jobless rate was almost half the current figure.
The national unemployment rate also climbed from 9.1 percent in May to 9.7 percent in June. That compares with a 5.7 percent rate in June 2008.
Although Pulaski County’s unemployment rate remained at a steady 12.4 percent from May to June, many of its surrounding counties experienced a rise in out of work residents.
Radford City’s rate increased from 9.7 percent in May to 11 percent in June, compared with a climb of 9.5 to 10.1 percent in Giles County, 7.1 to 7.9 percent in Montgomery County, and 7.8 to 8.3 percent in Floyd County. June 2008 rates in those jurisdictions were 6.1 percent in Radford, 5.6 percent in Giles County, 4.4 percent in Montgomery County, and 4.5 percent in Floyd County.
In Wythe County, unemployment actually dropped slightly between May and June, from 11.7 percent to 11.3 percent. Mezger said the improved jobless rate in Wythe County probably is the result of tourism activity and a smaller student population there.
The economist said he doesn’t expect much change in July figures since many of the students looking for summer employment will have either found jobs or given up looking by the July 12-18 reference week. The reference week is the week in which unemployment data is compiled to gauge the overall unemployment picture.
July is the month when many manufacturers furlough workers to save money. However, Mezger said he doesn’t expect the furloughs to be reflected much in the July figures because the reference week will fall after the heaviest of furloughs are over.
He explained that furloughs usually are planned for the week of July 4, during the Independence Day holiday.
So far, Mezger said, plant furloughs this year have been double the amount of furloughs in 2008.
Nine of Virginia’s ten metropolitan areas also saw an increase in unemployment rates between May and June, according to the VEC. Only the Danville metropolitan area saw no change in its jobless rate, which remained at 12.8 percent. However, Danville still had the highest metropolitan area jobless rate.
The Northern Virginia metropolitan area, where unemployment increased from 5.3 percent in May to 5.5 percent in June, still had the lowest unemployment rate of all the metropolitan areas.
Among Virginia’s 134 individual jurisdictions, Arlington County, at 4.7 percent, had the lowest jobless rate in June and was the only Virginia jurisdiction to have an unemployment rate below the 5 percent level that is considered to be “full employment.”
Martinsville, at 21.6 percent, had the highest unemployment rate. There were 32 Virginia jurisdictions, many along the North Carolina border, with double-digit unemployment in June.
The number of Virginia residents drawing unemployment benefits totaled 101,000 in June 2009, compared to 98,000 in May 2009 and 43,000 in June 2008.
This June’s statistical reference period was the week of June 7-13, 2009.

Unemployment rates remain steady

Unemployment rates remained steady in Pulaski County in June, but continued to climb statewide and in several surrounding counties, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
VEC Chief Economist Bill Mezger attributed the continued climb in jobless rates during June to high school and college students trying to enter the workforce for the summer, and to the ailing automobile industry. He said automobile production has reached a near standstill so area parts suppliers are continuing to lay off workers.
Closings at Chrysler and General Motors dealer franchises also are a factor in the increasing rates, Mezger added.
As for the student workforce, Mezger said, “This is probably the worst summer job market since (the) 1982” recession.
Statewide, unemployment rose from 7 percent in May to 7.3 percent in June. That means the number of unemployed increased by more than 15,000 between May and June, from 292,900 to 308,100. In June 2008, the 4 percent jobless rate was almost half the current figure.
The national unemployment rate also climbed from 9.1 percent in May to 9.7 percent in June. That compares with a 5.7 percent rate in June 2008.
Although Pulaski County’s unemployment rate remained at a steady 12.4 percent from May to June, many of its surrounding counties experienced a rise in out of work residents.
Radford City’s rate increased from 9.7 percent in May to 11 percent in June, compared with a climb of 9.5 to 10.1 percent in Giles County, 7.1 to 7.9 percent in Montgomery County, and 7.8 to 8.3 percent in Floyd County. June 2008 rates in those jurisdictions were 6.1 percent in Radford, 5.6 percent in Giles County, 4.4 percent in Montgomery County, and 4.5 percent in Floyd County.
In Wythe County, unemployment actually dropped slightly between May and June, from 11.7 percent to 11.3 percent. Mezger said the improved jobless rate in Wythe County probably is the result of tourism activity and a smaller student population there.
The economist said he doesn’t expect much change in July figures since many of the students looking for summer employment will have either found jobs or given up looking by the July 12-18 reference week. The reference week is the week in which unemployment data is compiled to gauge the overall unemployment picture.
July is the month when many manufacturers furlough workers to save money. However, Mezger said he doesn’t expect the furloughs to be reflected much in the July figures because the reference week will fall after the heaviest of furloughs are over.
He explained that furloughs usually are planned for the week of July 4, during the Independence Day holiday.
So far, Mezger said, plant furloughs this year have been double the amount of furloughs in 2008.
Nine of Virginia’s ten metropolitan areas also saw an increase in unemployment rates between May and June, according to the VEC. Only the Danville metropolitan area saw no change in its jobless rate, which remained at 12.8 percent. However, Danville still had the highest metropolitan area jobless rate.
The Northern Virginia metropolitan area, where unemployment increased from 5.3 percent in May to 5.5 percent in June, still had the lowest unemployment rate of all the metropolitan areas.
Among Virginia’s 134 individual jurisdictions, Arlington County, at 4.7 percent, had the lowest jobless rate in June and was the only Virginia jurisdiction to have an unemployment rate below the 5 percent level that is considered to be “full employment.”
Martinsville, at 21.6 percent, had the highest unemployment rate. There were 32 Virginia jurisdictions, many along the North Carolina border, with double-digit unemployment in June.
The number of Virginia residents drawing unemployment benefits totaled 101,000 in June 2009, compared to 98,000 in May 2009 and 43,000 in June 2008.
This June’s statistical reference period was the week of June 7-13, 2009.